As I dig further into this, it appears that my play json is missing DefaultJodaDateWrites. The error I now get is java.lang.NoSuchMethodError: play.api.libs.json.Writes$.DefaultJodaDateWrites()Lplay/api/libs/json/DefaultWrites$DefaultJodaDateWrites$;
It makes sense that if the cookie authenticator cannot write itself to json, then it is not going to work. However, should I file a bug with Play framework because all of the information I have found says the joda time will be removed from Play-json in play 2.6. I am not sure how I have run into this as my Play version is 2.5.14.